Hayley Kiyoko what i need

Why Hayley Kiyoko's 'What I Need' Is The Queer Representation WE Need

And we thought the "Girls Like Girls" video was the epitome of queer storytelling.


Hayley Kiyoko, the 27-year-old singer, songwriter, actress and director, is impacting the pop music industry in a whole new way: authentically. Some of us may remember her from her role as Velma in the Scooby Doo films or from her days on Disney Channel, guest-starring on a handful of episodes of "Wizards of Waverly Place" before getting a big break in the Disney movie, "Lemonade Mouth," a story of five teenagers busting onto the music scene.

The movie, now seven years old, can't even serve as a foreshadow of Kiyoko's career, as her stardom has taken on a life of its own. In a space where it's difficult to be outwardly and openly queer, Kiyoko manages it quite well. Her dedication to authentic storytelling doesn't come from a place of network-demanded bare minimum queer rep, it comes from somewhere much more personal.

The video accompaniment for "Girls Like Girls" made its way into 2015...and its legacy has continued into 2018. Though it wasn't Kiyoko's first self-directed video, it was her first video that captured a complex love story between two women. She chose not to star in the video and instead took on her role behind the camera, crafting a tender and heartwarming story of two women embracing their love for each other. This sort of original and theme has continued into the rest of Kiyoko's self-directed videos, from "Cliff's Edge" to "Gravel To Tempo" (a personal favorite) to this year's "What I Need."

The music video, featuring queer singer & songwriter Kehlani, captures the essence of what Kiyoko dubbed #20GAYTEEN at the start of the new year. The song (from her latest album Expectations), an upbeat, poppy plea for the woman of Kiyoko's desire to commit, is catchy, smooth, and empowering. The video? Even better. It could pass as a short film; without giving away too many spoilers if you haven't yet seen it, the chemistry between Kiyoko and Kehlani is palpable, honest, and relatable. A video about two queer women of color should be the norm, but it often isn't.

"What I Need" depicts a loving and successful attempt by Kiyoko to accurately tell a story about two women in love without it being sexualized or tokenized. It's breathtaking, on-the-edge-of-your-seat exhilarating while simultaneously being a breath of fresh air. The platinum-haired director has been at the receiving end of waves of praise for the representation she has given the LGBTQ+ community. Her identity as a lesbian is not a trope and Kiyoko's art doesn't make it seem like one. Rather, it feels comfortable to sink into the colorful world of a woman who loves women and has a clear vision for how she wants to portray it.

Kiyoko's willingness to share so much of her herself with her audience is admirable. Her sexuality, while it is the subject of countless headlines, is only one aspect of her. She's not simply a lesbian artist, she is an artist who is a lesbian. As stated in an interview with Refinery29, "Sure, I'd love for people to just like me, and my music. But if I don't allow labels, there's no way to normalize them.

Over time, my existence alone will help people see that a lesbian singer is just a singer. So while I might not want to constantly be asked about my sexuality and just be me, a big part of me is my love of women. So I guess I'm talking about it until it's no longer seen as something to talk about." There's a lot to love about Kiyoko, from her overwhelming energy to her optimism to her genuine nature, along with the strong sense of independence and creative direction she has with her music. Kiyoko has set our expectations high and her body of work indicates that she has every intention of raising them.

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.

Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.

2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.

4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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